Archive for June, 2014

Jun 17 2014

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Lawn and Garden Tips for Dealing with Summer Drought – The House Plan Shop

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The summer sun is high in the sky. As the temperatures soar, Mother Nature decides to hold back on rain. Your grass, garden, and trees are beginning to suffer. Below are a few tips for keeping your green space green throughout the summer.

Mulch
Did you know that unmulched soil can lose up to twice as much water as mulched soil, due to evaporation? Three to four inches of mulch around your plants will not only reduce soil temperature and keep moisture in the soil, but it will help to smother those pesky weeds that want to steal any available water. As a bonus, organic mulch will break down in the soil building up its organic content and preventing compaction. That gives your soil a better chance to soak up water for your plants use. When mulching around trees, pull the mulch back a bit around the trunk to allow air to reach it.

Water
It is best to water in the morning when the humidity is high and the temperature is cooler. Less water is lost to evaporation this way, and it prepares your plants and lawn to face the hottest part of the day without wilting. In the heat of the day, water evaporates faster causing you to use more water to get the job done. Also, water droplets on the plants work like a magnifying glass for the sun and could cause “sunburn” on the leaves. Watering too late in the day doesn’t give the plants time to dry properly and could promote fungus growth. Since shade is so important in keeping down the temperature of your lawn, don’t forget to water your trees. To help the water reach deeply to the roots, drill holes 24 to 30 inches deep around the base of the tree and fill them with compost. Water your lawn and trees slowly to help the soil absorb the water. This will also help to prevent water loss through transpiration which is a way that grass and plants “sweat” through their leaves. Finally, be mindful to deal with pests that will sap your precious plants and lawn of their strength.

Conserve
Plants use about one inch of water from the soil per week of the growing season. Use a rain gauge to estimate your watering and listen to the weather forecast to decide when to water. A soaker hose will help allow the water to soak in slowly without runoff.  Allowing your lawn to grow taller will help retain moisture by preventing water loss through transpiration. Consider directing the downspouts from your gutters to flow toward your trees or shrubs. Or even better, collect rainwater that flows from your roof into a barrel to use on a not so rainy day.

Keeping these tips in mind will help your plants, lawn, and trees stay a healthy green all summer.

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Jun 07 2014

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Recipe: Fried Corn for Your Summer Barbeque – The House Plan Shop

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Fried CornGrilling corn on the cob is a great treat at summer barbeques but might take up too much time and precious grill space, especially if you are hosting a large crowd. Here’s an easy way to deliver a tasty side dish of corn that your guests will surely appreciate.

Fried Corn

1 pound of bacon

1 bell pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

2  16 ounce bags of frozen corn

½ cup sugar optional

In a deep skillet fry the bacon. Remove from skillet, crumble it and set aside. Save some of the bacon grease, and add the pepper and onion to the skillet. Cook until soft and then add the corn. If you prefer to sweeten the pot, add some sugar to the corn along with a little salt and pepper to season it. If you like things hot, use a little cayenne pepper. When the corn is thoroughly heated through, return the crumbled bacon to the skillet, stir and serve.

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